The Bridgewater State Bears, Endicott Gulls, Maritime Privateers, USMMA Mariners, Salve Regina Seahawks and Springfield Pride have been selected as the participants in the 2018 New England Bowl Series which will be played at local sites on Saturday, November 17.
Endicott will host U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and Bridgewater State will host Salve Regina at noon, while Maritime and Springfield will kick off at 1 p.m.
Four of the teams will be appearing in the New England Bowl Series for the first time. Salve Regina (2016) and Maritime (2017) have both earned bids for the second time.
For the third consecutive year, the competing teams and the host institutions were selected by the commissioners of the four NCAA Division III conferences that have joined forces to present the New England Bowl Series: Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC), the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC), the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference (MASCAC), and the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC).
One year after expanding the New England Bowl series to include a second game, the four commissioners made the decision to add a third game in order to reward numerous seven-win teams that distinguished themselves in their respective conferences this fall. While the additional bowl game will allow student-athletes from six teams, rather than limiting it four, to enjoy an outstanding postseason experience in 2018, there is no commitment by the participating conferences to continue offering the third bowl game in future years at this time.
Bridgewater State (7-3 overall, 6-2 MASCAC) enters the New England Bowl series as winners of six of their last seven games, with the only setback during that stretch coming in the form of a 50-48 loss to Western Connecticut State in four overtimes. The Bears sport one of the most productive offenses in the MASCAC, averaging a conference-best 422.7 yards per game. Junior quarterback Stefano D’Emilia (Bridgewater, Mass./Bridgewater-Raynham) averages 181.4 yards passing per contest, with his favorite target senior Jack Lavanchy (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) sporting a league-high 110.5 receiving yards per game while tied for the conference-high with 11 touchdown receptions. On the ground, junior Nick Santavicca (Yorktown Hts., N.Y. / Yorktown) ranks in the MASCAC top three with 109.8 rushing yards per game and 13 touchdown runs.
Endicott (7-3 overall, 5-1 CCC) finished in a three-way tie with Western New England and Salve Regina atop the CCC standings. The Gulls are one of the most prolific offenses in the CCC, as they enter postseason averaging 36.9 points and 464.2 yards per game, both second in the circuit. Junior quarterback Joe Kalosky (Plymouth, Conn./Lawrenceville) leads all CCC signal callers with 234.5 passing yards per game and 22 touchdown passes, while also ranking in the CCC Top-10 with 45.1 rushing yards per game . Freshman receiver Shea McManaway (Lisbon, Conn./Norwich Free) is tied for the CCC lead with nine touchdown receptions. Senior linebacker Will Rivera (Orangeburg, N.Y./Saint Joseph Regional) leads the CCC with 101 total tackles.
Maritime (7-3 overall, 5-1 ECFC) returns to the New England Bowl Series for the second consecutive year, missing out on an ECFC championship by just one game, a narrow 34-21 defeat at the hands of Husson. The Privateers’ prolific offense has averaged 34.5 points per game, outscoring their opponents by an average margin of victory of 12 points per contest. Maritime is led by senior quarterback Thomas Wright (Wantagh, N.Y./ Wantagh) who leads all ECFC passers with 267.8 yards passing per game, while tying for the league lead with 26 touchdown passes, with 12 of those going to senior wideout Brandonn Drumgole (Mt. Sinai, N.Y./Mt. Sinai). Junior linebacker Liam Bailey (Sayville, N.Y./Sayville) leads all ECFC defenders with 11.7 tackles per game.
USMMA (7-2 overall, 5-2 NEWMAC) was one of four NEWMAC teams to register seven or more wins in the regular season. The Mariners currently lead all NEWMAC offenses with 369.1 yards and 28.2 points per game, while outscoring their opponents by an average of 11 points per game. Junior quarterback Krystian Abbott (Lansing, Kan./Lansing) contributes through the air and on the ground, as he has thrown six touchdown strikes while running in five. Junior wide receiver Joe Vitelli (Warrington, Pa./Central Bucks South) sits atop the NEWMAC all-purpose leader board with an average of 121.7 all-purpose yards per game. Vitelli has collected over 800 return yards. Junior wideout Luke Jamison (Tequesta, Fla./Jupiter Christian) leads all Mariners with four touchdown catches.
Salve Regina (7-3 overall, 5-1 CCC) will be making the program’s second appearance in the New England Bowl Series after finishing in a three-way tie with Western New England and Endicott atop the CCC standings. Freshman running back Joey Mauriello (Colts Neck, N.J./Colts Neck) leads the CCC with 99.2 rushing yards per game and has pounded in seven touchdown runs. Junior wide receiver Brandon Nunes (Attleboro, Mass./Attleboro) ranks second in the CCC with 71.6 receiving yards per game and is tied for the conference lead with nine touchdown receptions. Salve’s sophomore quarterback tandem of Jake Kelleher (Hopkinton, Mass./Hopkinton) and sophomore Tyler McGovern (Attleboro, Mass./Attleboro) have combined to toss 18 touchdowns and an average of 232.3 yards passing per contest. Sophomore Matt Sylvia (East Greenwich, R.I./East Greenwich) leads the CCC with eight interceptions.
Springfield (7-3 overall, 5-2 NEWMAC) was one of four NEWMAC teams to register seven or more wins in the regular season. In addition to averaging 25.8 points per contest and a conference-best 2,920 rushing yards per game, Springfield sports one of the NEWMAC’s stingier defenses, surrendering just 263.4 yards per game. The Pride are led on offense by junior halfback Hunter Belzo (Middletown, Conn./Middletown), who tops all NEWMAC rushers with 90.6 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns per game. Belzo’s backfield mate, fullback Tim Callahan (Enfield, Conn./Westminster) also sits fourth in the NEWMAC with 57.3 rushing yards per game, while junior quarterback Chad Shade (Pittsfield, Mass./Pittsfield) stands third with seven rushing touchdowns. On defense, senior defensive end Nick Giorgio (Cumberland, R.I./Cumberland) has registered a NEWMAC-best 12.5 sacks.
Tickets for all three games in the New England Bowl Series may be purchased the day of the game. Prices are $10 for adults and $5 for students and children. Children under the age of six will be admitted free.
New England Bowl Series History
YEAR MATCHUP LOCATION
2016 Framingham State 37, Salve Regina 34 Middletown, R.I.
2017 Framingham State 48, Curry 14 Framingham, Mass.
2017 WPI 17, SUNY Maritime 3 Worcester, Mass.